The planning system – a series of quick guides

Published 05/06/2023   |   Reading Time minutes

The planning system shapes the communities around us, including the homes we live in, our energy infrastructure, our transport system and our countryside. But the system can be confusing.

We’ve updated our series of guides which give a quick overview of the main aspects of the system.

Members and their staff regularly receive questions from constituents about planning, such as: how planning policy is made; whether planning permission is needed for a project; how a decision can be appealed; what’s a Section 106 agreement and how communities can have a say on a major development proposal in their area.

Our quick guide series provides the answers to these questions and more.

National planning policy 

This quick guide to national planning policy in Wales describes the legislative framework for the planning system and introduces the key national planning documents: Planning Policy Wales and Future Wales: the National Plan 2040.

Local planning policy

Our local planning policy guide describes how Local Development Plans are prepared and includes information on the new category of “Strategic Development Plan”.

Developments that don’t need planning permission

This quick guide sets out the types of development that don’t need permission and explains what permitted development is.

Planning permission

This quick guide explains what planning permission is, describes the different types of planning permission and sets out how planning decisions are made

Call in of planning applications

Our quick guide provides an overview of the process for calling in planning applications and describes the circumstances under which the Welsh Government will consider calling in an application.


This quick guide provides an overview of the planning appeals process. It describes the grounds on which an appeal can be made, sets out the process for considering appeals and what can be done if an appeal is unsuccessful.


This quick guide sets out what enforcement is, when enforcement action can take place, types of enforcement action, time limits, Welsh Government enforcement, and appeals against enforcement action

Telecommunications equipment

This quick guide provides an overview of the planning process surrounding telecommunications equipment.

Small-scale renewable energy schemes

Our quick guide on small scale renewables looks at how this sort of development is controlled, what kind of equipment is considered permitted development, and when a planning application is required.

Environmental Impact Assessment

This quick guide gives an overview of EIA -a procedure that ensures the environmental implications of developments are taken into account before planning decisions are made. 

Community Infrastructure Levy

Our Community Infrastructure Levy quick guide explains the purpose of the CIL, how it may be implemented and enforced and  highlights key differences between the CIL and S106 agreements. 

Section 106

Our S106 agreements quick guide explains the purpose of S106 agreements and sets out how they may be agreed, used and enforced.

Developments of National Significance

This quick guide provides an overview of what DNS are, the process of consenting for them and how communities are involved in the DNS process.

Compulsory Purchase Orders

This quick guide provides a background to CPOs, the powers that can be used to implement a CPO and which authorities can do so. It also describes the objection process, compensation and devolution of CPOs.

Habitats Regulations Assessment

This quick guide outlines what an HRA is, when it is required, what is involved during the stages of an HRA and how a decision can be challenged.

Consenting energy infrastructure

Our quick guide to energy consenting sets out the current consenting processes and planning policies in Wales. It also describes the legislative changes on the way, in the form of a Welsh infrastructure consenting bill.

Article by Francesca Howorth, Senedd Research, Welsh Parliament